FEATURE: Meet Jeremy Jauncey, man of the world
MADE OF BRICKS - Raymond Ang (The Philippine Star) - April 1, 2017 - 12:00am

Who is Jeremy Jauncey?” you might ask, scanning the billboards along EDSA-Guadalupe.

Among billboards of Bench’s transportive images of Lovi Poe and Tom Rodriguez strolling around in Cuba, the latest Belo products, and sleek new ads from Sunnies Studios, Jeremy Jauncey’s ad for the local retail giant — sweaty and shirtless, holding up the bow of a boat in summer shorts from Bench — stands out as a kind of human question mark. Who is Jeremy Jauncey?

Jeremy Jauncey is the 32-year-old entrepreneur, Insta-celebrity, and newly minted model behind Beautiful Destinations, the ultra-popular digital travel brand that commands as much as 8.7 million followers on Instagram and has become a global name in travel. The popularity of Beautiful Destinations has been so massive that the respected men’s fashion and lifestyle bible GQ has given it its blessing. Recently, Jeremy became part of its GQ Insider Program, which he describes as a “a celebration of men’s fashion and lifestyle.” As part of the program, Jeremy serves as a kind of ambassador for the storied brand, sharing what he knows and loves from his travels to the title’s massive readership.

Almost accidentally, Jeremy Jauncey has become a kind of celebrity in his own right. After years of fending off modelling offers, he’s learned to embrace that side of himself and has gamely used his assets and platform to share what he’s learned about life and culture from all over the world. In other words, the man behind Beautiful Destinations — the global travel brand that tirelessly supplies our Instagram feeds with must-see sights from all over the world — has become a must-see sight himself.

Jeremy Jauncey might be an unlikely choice for a Bench endorser but he’s a choice that makes more and more sense, the more you get to know about the guy. Born in Venezuela, raised in Scotland, living in New York, he reflects the kind of melting pot cultural sensibility so prevalent in our own culture. Right now, he lives in New York, making it his current base of operations, but with his eye on the horizon — a true man of the world.

His girlfriend is half-Filipino and he fell in love with the Philippines on the several trips he’s made, working with our Department of Tourism on campaigns to raise awareness for the travel opportunities in our country.

A few months ago, in the middle of a beautiful New York autumn, Bench did the photoshoot that would eventually land on that massive EDSA-Guadalupe billboard, in a picturesque location in upstate New York. Lensed by Filipino supermodel-turned-fashion photographer Brent Chua, with Bench’s core creative team of Ben Chan, Miguel Pastor, and stylist Noel Manapat in attendance, Jeremy, a reluctant model in his youth, played the part of model-endorser well, a winning smile and that rock hard body becoming the perfect canvas for the photographer’s vision.

After a long day of shooting for Bench, I caught up with Jeremy and talked about Bench, travel, Beautiful Destinations, how he found himself in tech, and what he loves about the Philippines.

SUPREME: Let’s start at the very beginning. Can you talk about life before Beautiful Destinations? I know you were doing a lot of stuff before.

JEREMY JAUNCEY: Yeah, the early part of life was professional sport, and all I was obsessed with was becoming an athlete. I wanted to play rugby for Scotland, as a career. It was something I felt as though I could achieve and that I was really passionate about doing when I was younger. I played for Scotland while I was at school, but realized pretty soon, after I moved to New Zealand when I was playing, that I couldn’t do it anymore. And so I got into business from there.

So since I was 20 — I’m 32 now — I’ve been in the technology business and an entrepreneur. Before Beautiful Destinations, on the business side, it’s always been digital. So technology companies, e-commerce, rewards — basically always digital advertising.

Beautiful Destinations was something on the side, a passion project. And it only recently became the business that it is now.

You’re obviously such a citizen of the world. So I have to ask, what about travel do you love?

There are so many things! I believe that travel is a bridging force for people. Like it’s a way to meet people and understand different cultures, to realize how big and important different places in the world are. So sitting down with people from a completely different culture and had a completely different experience from their lives, I find that very enriching.

And also that’s kind of the goal with Beautiful Destinations, to kind of celebrate the beauty of the world and all the amazing people in it. Meeting new people is just something I get a lot of enjoyment out of — learning what’s interesting to them and what they’re doing and what they love, also just being able to go to a place that you can immerse yourself in, in a different culture experience.

So Scotland — I love Scotland, it’s amazing, I love the UK. I’m very proud and happy of having a British background. But our culture is very different to Asia, very different to Australia, very different to South America — and going and seeing those places and having cultural experiences that are very different, I really value.

Why do you think the concept of “the other” interests you? Other cultures, countries, cuisines? I mean, it’s easy to want to travel and see beautiful things. But the way you do it, it’s also about going into it very open-mindedly, ready to take it all in — a cultural exchange.

I think it’s an understanding that the world is so much bigger than the four walls you live in day-to-day. There are so many amazing people and experiences that you can have if you just get out and explore. And so the brand that we’ve built is supposed to be this celebration of travel and of exploring.

For me personally, I’ve always loved the idea of seeing and making a name for myself and going all over the world and inspiring people.

I never really thought about why I enjoy it so much… I feel like travel is just one of those forces that brings people together. It’s one of those things that just, really, when you break it all down, we’re all very similar. We all want the same things—to be happy, to be successful; for love and to be loved; to experience new things. It doesn’t matter if you are in Brazil or in Sweden or you’re in Germany or you’re in London or you’re in LA, I think we can all sort of relate to that.

You’ve been to the Philippines a few times. How did you end up traveling to the Philippines? How did you end up working with our Department of Tourism?

It was amazing. They contacted me on my personal Instagram, and they sent the messages and said, “We love what you guys are doing. We’d love for you guys to come and work with us in the Philippines. Could you come?” So we started a dialogue with the Department of Tourism, sharing ideas on the business — and I think at the time they probably didn’t realize we were a business — and we shared the different tourism boards that we were working with, how we could help them tell the story of their country and get more people to visit the Philippines, and they said that’s fantastic. We formed a partnership!

The first time, we came with the tourism board and had the experience of traveling around the country. And in the times I’ve been back, I’ve been in Manila for meetings. So at work, I’ve been told by everyone that there are thousands of other places in the country that I need to go to that I haven’t been yet. So that’s kind of what I’m planning for the next trip.

How did you end up working with Bench? In general, how do you deal with that side of things. You were telling me earlier that people were offering you modelling gigs and you never really took them until a few years ago.

Modeling and doing it as a full-time career was never really appealing. But when Bench got in touch—and what I loved about the opportunity—was to work on some ideas on what we could do with both of our brands.

And we get approached all the time by brands and the majority of them we say no to, especially now with my own sort of personal career. I’m very selective about the brands I associate with.

And knowing Bench from being in the Philippines and everyone saying to me there’s really only one fashion brand to be associated with, it was amazing to come together on a partnership because there’s just so much about the brand that I like and respect and that I feel represents the Philippines. And so coming back and being associated with the brand is a real honor for me.

JEREMY JAUNCEY
Philstar
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